Democracies rarely die from external threats. They often die from internal threats.




Speech of Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe.

"Madam President, dear colleagues,

This plenary session “on the State of the Union” is unlike others. This is the last of the mandate, the last before the European elections. I have already said it. I maintain that we must avoid polarisation in this Parliament. There are 9 months of work left and the June election is not being played out in September. As you have said, Madam President, these four years have been among the most significant in the recent history of European construction.

Renew Europe is proud to have been in charge during this period. Renew Europe is proud to have been useful within a coalition, which was not obvious, but which brought together pro-Europeans of good will. If I want to summarize: Renew Europe is proud of the joint results. We hope that these last months will be useful, like these last four years. But Renew Europe is also lucid: on certain political priorities of my group, the final register is not there yet.

If I start with the positive elements:

I consider that Europe has been useful to our fellow citizens like never before. Europe has been there in the pandemic. Europe was there in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine to unite Europeans.

Europe is here for future generations. The Green Deal makes Europe the most exemplary continent in terms of the ecological transition. We don't have to have shame on our environmental record. I don't know of any other parliamentary chamber in the world that has taken such courageous decisions?

We are here for our workers and our businesses. The reindustrialisation of the continent is now a reality underway... in the name of our sovereignty, our jobs and purchasing power. We are here for each of our citizens, for their rights. The digital wild west is now regulated by our European laws. The independence of our media will soon be guaranteed by specific legislation. We are here for our collective security with the foundations of a common defense. And on all these subjects we will go to the end, I am thinking in particular of the Green deal.

If I continue on what we still have to do:

We are here to find a lasting solution to the migration issue. To protect external borders and our sovereignty while remaining a welcoming land for lives under threat.

This is one of the texts that we must finalise. With the energy package. With the European industrial response. These 9 months, I repeat, must be useful! Being useful does not mean regulation for the sake of regulation. We must reduce bureaucracy on our citizens and our entrepreneurs. Being useful also means investing in line with our objectives. Green and digital transitions will only be successful if our laws are simple, intelligible and funded.

Madam President, to finish, the subject that annoys my group. As you know, we are determined to defend our democratic model. Europe is not yet responding to the desperate appeals of Polish judges, Hungarian judges, the independent press and civil society. I remain stunned when Italian prosecutors change the civil status of children and therefore withdraw rights from mothers because they are lesbians.

My group always calls for more efficiency, more simplicity, more reforms. Unanimity is poison. No European decision should be hostage to an autocrat in Budapest or elsewhere. Realise, the extent of our support for Ukraine depends on Viktor Orban.

Madam President, we refuse the shift of Europe. We refuse the orbanisation of our continent. This is a real danger. Not only politically, but also economically and socially. The risk of endemic corruption. The risk of seeing communities targeted. The opposite of our European DNA. I would even say the opposite of our civilizational project.

Madam President, you wanted a Geopolitical Commission. It was, through history, much more than that. But beware. Democracies rarely die from external threats. They often die from internal threats.

It’s up to us, Democrats, to act in time."


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